By: Ross Osborne, B.C.H.I.S. Miracle-Ear Franchisee, Columbia TN
I have been improving my patients’ quality of life for over 16 years, and have been using LACE with my patients for almost a year now. I have seen a lot of new ideas hyped, only to find that they were just gimmicks without any real benefits or proven results. I have always been looking for that extra edge to help my patients in difficult listening situations, and until now, I have had very limited success finding that solution.
When the industry finally made the jump from analog to digital, it solved a lot of issues my patients were encountering on a daily basis. True speech processing, and multiple frequency targeting on hearing aids became reality vs. analog systems just making sounds louder. Later the improvements in directional microphones were a huge help in boosting speech signals in noisy environments. However directional microphones are limited, depending on individual patient speech discrimination abilities. So what was the missing link for helping my patients get the results they wanted after I had exhausted all the technological options hearing aids had to offer? It was the patient’s ability to focus and listen!
Countless times I’ve heard my patient’s say, “I can hear one-on-one but I can’t hear when three or more people are talking” or “My grandkids talk too fast and they sound like they are mumbling”. My answer to all of those concerns was, “You have to work at those difficult listening situations and over time you should do better!” But I had no measurable way for them to learn how, much less monitor their abilities in real time.
Now, with LACE I have a tool that has proven to be worth its weight in gold!
Patients, new and existing, are finding LACE to be an invaluable exercise for their listening skills. When I sit down with patients, I have the confidence that I can help them find a hearing solution to fit their loss and a tool to help them take full advantage of their individual listening skills. Even patients with low discrimination scores can benefit from LACE. One patient with particularly low speech abilities said he found that he was more aware of his hearing abilities now, and had a better understanding of his hearing situation and what it took for him to understand. Almost all my patients who have completed LACE recognize an improvement in their listening ability, and now understand that there is a difference between hearing better and listening better!
LACE is quickly becoming a staple in my practice. With the coming advancements it will easily be incorporated as just part of the normal fitting and adjustment process for every patient striving for better hearing.
Neurotone, thanks for your help and keep up the good work!